Desharnais' OT goal sends Canadiens past Predators
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As overtime started Saturday night in Bridgestone Arena, a tornado warning was issued for downtown Nashville.
Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais supplied the lightning moments later.
After stealing the puck from defenseman Mattias Ekholm along the right side boards, Desharnais rifled a 35-foot slap shot over the left shoulder of backup goaltender Carter Hutton at 1:43, giving Montreal a 4-3 win over the Predators.
It was the fourth goal for Desharnais, whose high-sticking penalty against Hutton led to one of Nashville's two power-play goals that wiped out the Canadiens' 3-0 first-period lead.
"I knew he was going to try to hold the puck there, so I wanted to beat him to it," Desharnais said of his steal and score. "I had an opening there, so I thought I'd take my shot."
Desharnais' winner improved Montreal to 22-13-3 overall and 1-1-0 on its six-game road trip, which resumes Dec. 28 in Tampa Bay. It was the third straight loss for the Predators (16-16-4).
As Desharnais' teammates mobbed him in front of the penalty box, Predators coach Barry Trotz was yelling at referees Dean Morton and Dan O'Halloran, perhaps asking why a tripping penalty wasn't called.
"I look at it as a well-earned point," Trotz said, speaking of his team's three-goal rally, "but I felt we should have had two."
The Canadiens ran starting goalie Marek Mazanec out of the game by scoring on three straight shots in a 3:07 span of the first period, particulaly noteworthy because they had scored seven goals in their past six games.
Defenseman P.K. Subban started the Canadiens' goal-scoring streak with a 39-foot slap shot from straight on at 11:30, his fifth goal of the season. Center Lars Eller drew the only assist.
At 13:20, left winger Max Pacioretty scored his 15th goal with a backhander over Mazanec's left shoulder. Right winger Brendan Gallagher sent Pacioretty in with a nice cross-ice pass and Pacioretty got behind defenseman Kevin Klein.
Center Tomas Plekanec's tip-in of a shot by right winger Brian Gionta made it 3-0 at 14:37 as the crowd of 16,095 looked on in silence. It was the 12th goal for Plekanec and resulted in Hutton replacing Mazanec.
The Predators got on the board at 11:51 of the second period when left winger Gabriel Bourque wristed his fifth goal over the left shoulder of goalie Carey Price.
Left winger Nick Spaling cut the deficit to 3-2 at 18:09 with a power-play goal, his sixth goal of the year. Skating to the slot with little opposition, Spaling deflected defenseman Shea Weber's shot past Price.
Eight seconds after Subban went to the box for tripping Cullen, Weber tied it at 13:40 of the third period with his ninth goal of the season, a wrister set up by center Mike Fisher and right wing Patric Hornqvist.
"You hate to talk negative after a win," Pacioretty said, "but you have to start putting 60 minutes together. Until we start doing that, we're not going to have the results we want to have on a consistent basis."
Price (17-11-2) notched 31 saves, including 18 in a busy second period. Hutton stopped the first 17 shots he saw before Desharnais blistered the winner.
With tornado sirens blaring in the background, Montreal coach Michel Therrien described his relief at the result.
"I wish we didn't let them get back into the game," he said, "but what a great effort by David Desharnais."
NOTES: Nashville G Pekka Rinne's recovery from a bacterial infection in his hip has been set back until early January, a timetable that probably knocks him out of playing for Finland in the Sochi Olympics. Rinne has been out since an Oct. 22 loss in Minnesota. ... Therrien dressed D Francis Bouillon for just the fifth time in 16 games and gave him a start. Bouillon, who played three years in Nashville, got an ovation from the crowd when announced before the game. ... Predators C Colin Wilson was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch on Thursday night in Tampa Bay. Wilson had played in the first 34 games. ... Canadiens C Daniel Briere was back in their lineup after being scratched in the team's 5-1 loss on Thursday night in St. Louis. Briere has five goals and 10 points in 26 games. ... Nashville D Seth Jones left after the first period and didn't return. He took a shot in the face and had to be aided off the ice.